Church As State: A Little More

Any conversations about the Kingdom in the spirit of mutual love and respect are right in the eyes of the Lord. God calls us to live with each other in community. And that means being able to talk openly without judging and learning from one another and encouraging one another.

Which values are godly and which ones are ungodly? Abortion and homosexual rights, to me and to all who submit to the Lordship of Christ, are deplorable. But what about war? What about the killing of people overseas, even in the name of defense? Even in the name of protecting our rights and freedoms? Much less for economic reasons? What about the growing gap between the rich and the poor? What about a platform that completely ignores the poor and those unable to provide for themselves the basic necessities of life in the interest of keeping our economy running? I do believe God weeps over every baby who is aborted. Scriptures tell us that God also weeps over the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in the gate. I also believe our Father weeps for every soldier killed in senseless battle: Iraqi, Afghanistan, and American. And for their spouses and children. There are many, many parts of both the Republican and Democratic platforms that fly directly in the face of the teachings of our Christ.

What do we do with our Christian brothers and sisters who prayed to our God in the name of Jesus that Obama would be elected President so this nation would turn its eyes back to the Lord and take more seriously the teachings of Jesus, to stop the senseless killing and war and to work harder to bridge the gap between the unbelieveably wealthy and the destitute? What do we do with them? Do we say they’re not really disciples of Jesus because I disagree with them politically on which policies and platforms are more Scripturally-based than others? Or more important on an individual list of priorities?

The more I study our Scriptures and the more I reflect on this country whose message and culture opposes the Church at every turn, the more I’m convinced we don’t live in a two-party system. I don’t see two parties anymore. I see one huge, giant, corrupt system of anti-Christian, anti-Kingdom thought and philosophy. So, what’s the answer? Vote for the lesser of the two evils? Probably. That’s what I did.

Some say that we can’t stand by and allow this country to be overrun with evil secular forces out to destroy our whole existence. I say this country, its culture and its message, IS an evil secular force out to destroy the existence of the Church. And the New Testament says the same thing.

The problem, as I see it, is that we equate God and Country when the two are actually opposed to each other. We honor killing other people to protect our rights as some kind of Christian value when, in actuality, that idea is anti-Christian. America is all about rights. The Kingdom of God, of which we’re citizens, is all about totally giving up our rights. America is all about independence. The Kingdom is all about complete dependence on God. What drives our economy and, thus, our politics and, thus, what shapes our country are greed and consumerism and lust. The messages in the culture of this country are those of sex and violence and noise and individualism. And all of those things, and many more, couldn’t be more directly opposed to our Christ and his Kingdom.

Some say our rights in this country have nourished our faith and our families and our commitments to Jesus. I’d argue just the opposite. I believe one of the main reasons God’s Church is getting weaker and weaker in this country is because we have so many freedoms and rights and luxuries. We’ve compromised God’s Church by our unholy alliances with this world.

God’s Church in Europe did stand by as Hitler and his men murdered millions of innocent people. The Church did nothing. The Church even taught that God’s people should do nothing. The reason is because the Church was so tied up in and with the earthly politics and systems of the nation.

And I wonder about God’s Church in America. How tied up are we in the politics and systems of the USA? So much so that we justify evil in the name of God and country?

There’s nothing easy about this. It’s a difficult message to hear. And it’s difficult to preach. I pray for God’s continued mercies on his people and his Church. And lots and lots of grace for his gospel preachers.

Peace,

Allan

9 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    AMEN!!!!!!! Sounds a little Shane Claibiorne-esque….maybe we’ll make it under the I-30/35 bridge yet.

  2. Tom

    Hi Allan,

    Say it again, will you? It’s all true but most of the Church in this country will not hear it. Wake up CHURCH!!

    Hmm. Thanks!

    Tom

  3. Kenny Smith

    Allan

    We just do not think it is worthwhile to continue discussing this here – too much worry that some will be offended, and we do not want that.

    Yet, I dearly love discussing ideas, points of view and I could spend hours enjoying all of it with you. That is what is neat about the internet with people you don’t know – you can make your points in discussion and no feelings or boundaries are overstepped. But then – nobody cares what you think – which is ok.

    Jean (Kenny is asleep but hopefully approves this message.)

  4. Caleb Courtney

    Allan,
    AMEN AMEN AMEN! Thank you for your bold words, calling us to live by God’s standard, not our own or our country’s.

    First I think it is vital we as Christians must speak for truth, even truth in our “opponents” platforms. With so much misinformation out there (ridiculous emails), it is not right for us to continue spreading lies, even about people we don’t like. We are called to seek truth, even when its not convienent for us.

    Second, we must realize that we are not a Christian nation. Our Constitution contains no official religion. What we are as Christians is not a nation of believers, but a world of believers. We must realize that our faith extends so far beyond the borders of the USA and we must be concerned for believers and non-believers worldwide. We need to have God’s vision. John 3:16 says “for God so loved the WORLD”, not just the USA.

    We are not God’s chosen country. Yes, we are extremely blessed by God to live here, but we are not a modern day Israel afforded special place in the kingdom. The level of nationalism in the church is scary at times, our allegience seems to be tied to God and Country as you said. I appreciate our veterans and all they have done for us and I know its because of them I can live, write, and worship freely. However, far to often our intense nationalism has carried over into our churches such that we blindly support our country aslong as our own interests are protected. We must be honest as Christians when our nation destroys peace, profits off the slave labor of others, and demands the best seat at the table.

    Third, young Christians are leaving conservative churches and conservative politics in droves because they are tired of only seeing faith expressed in ballot initiatives.

    We see petitions and pleas from Christian leaders like James Dobson to over turn Roe v. Wade or to ban gay marriage. But with so much anger and vitrol wrapped up in these campaigns we don’t see the same passion in people to support adoption agencies.

    We don’t see people shouting or protesting or pleading to help support a pregnant teen financially so she can go to school instead of having to work 2 jobs to pay for childcare so having a child will not mean a life spent in poverty, (4/5 of all abortions occur in women who live at or below the poverty line, could there be a connection?)

    We make sure to get out the vote to overturn gay marriage but how many of us know a gay person or have talked with one? Shouldn’t we rally just as hard to vote out greed on Wall Street or any of the many other sins which we don’t consider necessary of a constitutional admendment to restrain.

    Young Christians read James Dobson’s letter from a Christian in 2012 and vomit. Its filled with hatred towards homosexuals, slanderous accusations, and places all the ills of Christian families upon abortion and homosexuality. It labels these people as people to fight against instead of people to be pited, loved, and prayed for. Where is the focus on Christian families who are getting divorced at the same rate as unChristian families?

    Young Christians are tired of having their votes hijacked and their Christianity questioned by people who say that the only issues are making abortion illegal, (which will just turn the issue over to the states) banning gay marriage, and voting for the guy who will lower taxes.

    Finally, (I know this is too long sorry, it just touches a nerve because the way I and others have been treated for having an opinion that is outside of approved CoC practice)

    Our nation DOES NOT dictate who we are as a church and as disciples. We do not set our standards according to the standards of our particular country or government. The early church certainly did not set its standards to the level of the Roman government. Legalizied abortion, homosexual marriage, etc do not have any bearing upon me or my family. My mandate as a Christian father does not change depending on who runs the particular country I live in.

    Thank you for your comments Allan, I echo them and encourage you to continue to be bold. You speak the truth, and the truth that comes from God’s word. Remember we have nothing to fear, regardless of whose in charge here, we are citizens of the kingdom of Heaven. Still God promises: Jer 29:11 “I have plans for you, not to harm you, but give you hope and a future” 1 John 4:18 “perfect love casts out fear”

  5. Jesse

    Great thoughts and words Caleb. You speak for many young Christians, and all I can say is “AMEN”!

    Allan, preach on brother!

  6. Janie

    Wow AND Amen to both Allan and Caleb. Caleb, you have so just put into words everything I have been thinking and feeling, but didn’t know how to express adequately & succinctly for the past year. Thank you.

  7. Ken

    AMEN to Allan and Caleb. Took a few minutes to catch up with recent posts and so glad I did.

  8. Allan

    Yesterday’s Star-Telegram Editorial/Opinion section contained an excellent column by Cal Thomas. Section D. Top of the front page. The headline is “Christians May Have Learned The Most From The Election.” It says so much more clearly what I’ve been trying to communicate for the past couple of weeks. Here’s the online link to the Thomas piece:
    http://www.star-telegram.com/245/story/1025804.html

  9. Caleb Courtney

    What a great article. I am almost ashamed it took a nationally syndicated columnist to articulated what I believe. Never once does he sacrafice truth or God’s word. I so appreciated his different approach, which seems to be Christ’s approach. A must read article for sure, thank you for sharing that with us.

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